two hatching turtles coming out of HIOC logo graphic (no TM)Turtle Sense: Better Protection for Sea Turtles with Improved Beach Access for People



Why was Turtle Sense needed?turtle nest site sign

To best protect sea turtle hatchlings, Cape Hatteras National Seashore currently implements a management protocol which involves beach closures to pedestrians and ORVs. This is necessary protocol to ensure sea turtle hatchlings are safe, but Turtle Sense may have assisted in reducing the amount of time the closures need to be installed, while providing more valuable information about sea turtle biology!

What were the expected benefits?Turtle hatchlings march to the sea.

  • Better understanding of sea turtle biology.
  • Better protection of turtle hatchlings.
  • Possibly shorter beach closure timeframes.
  • Improved opportunities for visitors see a nest “boil” and watch hatchlings crawl into the ocean.
  • Lower cost of nest management.

How did it work?

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Sensors were sealed in plastic and looked very similar to turtle eggs. An egg is about the size of a ping pong ball.

Small sensors that detect motion were placed inside the nest. Using mobile phone technology, sensor data was sent on a regular basis, via the Internet, for analysis. The data was then used to predict when hatchlings would emerge from the nest.

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Where can I get more detailed information and support Turtle Sense?

National Park Service — Turtle Sense 2014 final report

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Turtle Sense was a joint effort of the Ocean Center, Nerds Without Borders, and the National Park Service.